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Can I Drink Beverages with Caffeine After Weight Loss Surgery?


By Dr. Dieter Pohl

It’s not uncommon to crave a hot cup of tea or coffee on a cold winter day. Once the chilly nights roll in, the temptation to cozy up with a hot cup of your favorite beverage is something we all can relate too. If you’ve recently had bariatric surgery, you’re probably wondering if it’s safe to consume caffeine after your procedure. Don’t worry, your beloved cup of coffee is not out of your life forever. Here’s everything you need to know about drinking caffeine following weight loss surgery.

If you’ve just had bariatric surgery, it’s best to avoid caffeine completely for the first 3 to 4 weeks. If you have a love for caffeinated beverages, you should talk to your doctor or dietitian about how to safely reintroduce these drinks back into your diet. Caffeine has several properties that can work against an effective weight loss regimen, causing many patients gastrointestinal discomfort and dehydration. Since caffeine is a diuretic, drinking it will cause you to lose water rapidly through urination. A big problem among bariatric surgery patients is staying hydrated and caffeine can increase the risk of becoming dehydrated. If you plan on drinking a caffeinated beverage, we recommend having only 1 cup per day and track your water intake to make sure you are reaching your daily hydration goals.

Common Effects of Drinking Caffeine Following Bariatric Surgery

Many patients experience gastrointestinal discomfort from drinking caffeinated beverages due to the fact that it often increases gut motility. In some patients, this can result in the excretion of food that is not fully digested. For bariatric patients, this can become a very big issue since your digestive system is now altered. Caffeine also reduces the feeling of hunger, which may make it difficult for many patients to reach their protein goals after having surgery. If you’ve had bariatric surgery, you know it’s important to prioritize your nutritional needs. On top of curbing your appetite, caffeine makes it harder for the body to absorb essential nutrients it needs during recovery.

Tips to Safely Consume Caffeine

If you’re really craving your morning cup o’ Joe, it is safe to drink decaf black coffee following your bariatric procedure. Many patients start to introduce it a small amount of caffeinated beverages back into their diet during the recovery process. By following these tips, you can safely consume caffeine after weight loss surgery:

  • Start small- if you used to drink multiple caffeinated beverages a day, start by just having one
  • Don’t add sweeteners or syrup to your coffee. Remember to have all your beverages without added sugar.
  • Drink enough water- track your water intake throughout the day to see if you are reaching your hydration goals.
  • Talk to your doctor or dietitian. Don’t hesitate to bring it up at your next check up! Remember to avoid caffeine beverages in the first 2-3 weeks after surgery.

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